Mem

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Mem
PhoenicianHebrewAramaicSyriacArabic
Memמ,םMemܡܡم‍,م
Alphabetic
derivatives
GreekLatinCyrillic
ΜMМ
Phonemic representation:m
Position in alphabet:13
Numerical (Gematria/Abjad) value:40
 
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Mem
PhoenicianHebrewAramaicSyriacArabic
Memמ,םMemܡܡم‍,م
Alphabetic
derivatives
GreekLatinCyrillic
ΜMМ
Phonemic representation:m
Position in alphabet:13
Numerical (Gematria/Abjad) value:40

Mem (also spelled Meem or Mim) is the thirteenth letter of many Semitic abjads, including Phoenician, Aramaic, Hebrew מ and Arabic mīm م. Its value is [m].

The Phoenician letter gave rise to the Greek Mu (Μ), Etruscan M 𐌌, Latin M, and Cyrillic М.

Contents

Origins

Mem is usually assumed to come from the Egyptian hieroglyphic symbol for water (
N35
), which had been simplified by the Phoenicians and named after their word for water, mem (Phoenician mem.png), ultimately coming from Proto-Semitic *maʾ-/*may-.

Hebrew Mem

Orthographic variants
Various Print FontsCursive
Hebrew
Rashi
Script
SerifSans-serifMonospaced
מממHebrew letter Mem handwriting.svgHebrew letter Mem-nonfinal Rashi.png

Hebrew spelling: מֵם

Hebrew pronunciation

Mem represents [m].

Variations on written form/pronunciation

Orthographic variants
Various Print FontsCursive
Hebrew
Rashi
Script
SerifSans-serifMonospaced
םםםHebrew letter Mem-final handwriting.svgHebrew letter Mem-final Rashi.png

In Hebrew, Mem, like Kaph, Nun, Pe, and Tzadi, has a final form, used at the end of words. Its shape changes from מ to ם. The pronunciation is not changed.

Significance

In gematria, Mem represents the number 40. Its final form represents 600 but this is rarely used, Tav and Resh (400+200) being used instead.

In the Sefer Yetzirah, the letter Mem is King over Water, Formed Earth in the Universe, Cold in the Year, and the Belly in the Soul.

As an abbreviation, it stands for metre. In the Israeli army it can also stand for mefaked, commander. In Hebrew religious texts, it can stand for the name of God Makom, the Place.

Mem and Tarot

Mem is associated with The Hanged Man (Atu XII), the element of water and the path between Geburah and Hod on the Tree of Life.

Arabic mīm

The letter is named mīm, and is written in several ways depending on its position in the word:

Position in word:IsolatedFinalMedialInitial
Glyph form:مـمـمـمـ

Some examples on its uses in Modern Standard Arabic:

Mīm is used in the creation of ism words (i.e. nouns and adjectives; they are treated fundamentally the same in Arabic grammar). Specifically, mīm is used in the creation of the masdar (verbal noun) of Stem III verbs (the masdar of verbs on the pattern fā`ala is mufā`ala), of subject and object nouns for verbs of Stems II-X (using the example of Stem II, subject nouns — called fā`il words because of their form in Stem I — are mufa``il, and object nouns — called maf`ūl also because of their Stem I form — take the form mufa``al). Place-nouns are also created with mīm; the pattern maf`al is used to create maktab "office" from the triliteral k-t-b (to write) and maṣna` "factory" from ṣ-n-` (to make).

See also